Morrie Ryskind (October 20, 1895 – August 24, 1985) was an American dramatist, lyricist and writer of theatrical productions and motion pictures, who became a conservative political activist later in life.
Ryskind was born in New York City, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Ida (Edelson) and Abraham Ryskind. He attended Columbia University but was suspended shortly before he was due to graduate after he called university president Nicholas Murray Butler "Czar Nicholas" in the pages of the humor magazine Jester in 1917. Ryskind was criticizing Butler for refusing to allow Count Nikolai Tolstoy, nephew of Leo Tolstoy, to speak on campus.
From 1927 to 1945, Ryskind was author of numerous scripts and musical lyrics for Broadway theatrical productions and Hollywood motion pictures, and, later, directed a number of such productions, as well. He collaborated with George S. Kaufman on several Broadway hits. In 1933, he earned the Pulitzer Prize (receiving the prize from the same Nicholas Murray Butler who had suspended him from Columbia University) for Drama for the Broadway production Of Thee I Sing, a musical written in collaboration with composer George Gershwin...
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